How to improve breast milk quality, baby gaining weight too slowly

(19 Posts)
Lulushmulu Mon 03-Sep-07 19:45:36

My 15 week old baby was weighed today and has only gained 13 oz in the last 7 weeks and has dropped off the bottom of the weight chart! She has always been small, weighing only 5 lb 13 oz at birth. Her growth had been steady but has slowed since she was weighed 7 weeks ago.

This coincides with when I decided to cut out snacks and puddings etc to get my weight somewhere near normal! I am not dieting, just cutting out surplus calories.

My baby is healthy in every other way, alert, responsive and content. She feeds 3-4 hourly for 45 minutes a time, sleeps for 6-8 hours at night, usually waking once for a feed.

My HV advised me to eat an extra 1000 calories a day, but what foods are best for improving breast milk quality (the quantity seems OK)?

Any advice please!

juuule Mon 03-Sep-07 21:05:51

Your baby sounds fine to me. She is gaining weight, alert, responsive and content. Obviously getting enough milk to satisfy her. I wouldn't worry, your milk must be of good enough quality to be providing all of the above.
I'd stop taking her to be weighed and would ignore where she is on the weight chart and concentrate more on whether she appears healthy enough, etc. and your gut feelings about whether she is well.
At one point one of mine was only putting on 3oz a fortnight. I stopped taking her to be weighed as I always came away feeling awful. She is now a bright, healthy 10yo.

whomovedmychocolate Mon 03-Sep-07 21:11:40

Your HV is talking crap - apart from making sure your vitamin D levels are up to standard (have some butter on your toast) there's nothing at all you need to do.

Your daughter sounds entirely normal, growth does slow and soon it will jump up again.

Well done for not going to see the HV for seven weeks - perhaps you should continue this pattern because by the next time you pitch up for weighing, things will no doubt have resolved themselves!

In terms of losing weight btw, I have some bad news for you - my daughter is ten and a half months and I have just finished losing my baby weight - and I'm not unusual, for a lot of people it takes as long to lose it as make a baby and while it's very sensible to not eat crap, it may not make a great deal of difference. Some of us have bodies that hold onto weight a while longer - it took me at least four months to lose all the fluid from pregnancy - let alone the fat!

Trust your instincts on this - your daughter is lively and well, so what if she's small. My DD is enormous off the scales and looks like a two year old, there has to be a lot of variation to make up normal and our DDs are just on the extremes of that variation.

If you think she's okay, she probably is

hettie Mon 03-Sep-07 21:12:21

Sorry to hear you are getting some baby weight grief. I had this for months and eventualy got so fed up with it that I posted here and spoke to a bfeeding counsellor. As I am a skinny minny I was getting the same line about 'what was I eating' from health visitors. BUT i have it on very good advice from people who are far more clued up on bfeeding that how much you eat what you eat or how much you weigh has got bugger all to do with anything. Try for info. I am sure someone will be able to offer further verification. As it is my ds just decided to pick up in his own sweet time, they are all different but as long as your lo is healthy then don't worry.

tiktok Mon 03-Sep-07 21:16:01

lulu - your health visitor is really badly informed. Eating 1000 more calories a day will have no effect on your milk, quality or quantity...there's a good handout on this here

The quality of breastmilk - by which I guess you mean the calories in it, because you want your baby to weigh more - is influenced by the degree of emptiness of the breast. An emptier breast has creamier milk.

But in fact, the baby's weight gain is mostly influenced by the volume of milk he drinks. If you want your baby to weigh more, then you will need to feed her more.

But do you think she needs to weigh more? She is alert and healthy and content, and may be physiologically small. There would be no harm in offering her more breastfeeds, if you want to, though.

If it's your health visitor who is saying she should weigh more, then you can guage the quality of this advice by the fact she seems to think you can influence this by your diet alone

mears Mon 03-Sep-07 21:17:05

Extra calories will not improve quality. There is nothing wrong with that. To get your baby top gain more weight she needs more calories which means more frequent feeds. HOWEVER, if she is happy, alert, peeing and pooing I would carry on as you are. Nothing wrong with 13oz in 7 weeks IMO.

mears Mon 03-Sep-07 21:17:55

Hi Tiktok smile

tiktok Mon 03-Sep-07 21:32:15

There's us agreeing again, mears

Gingerbear Mon 03-Sep-07 21:33:13

hello mears, hello tikok!

Nonsense, utter nonsense spoken by your HV. Both my babies are/were breastfed and both gained weight slower than what they 'should have' by the charts. in fact I have stopped taking DS to be weighed. He is happy and healthy and I have no idea what he weighs at 14 weeks old. He feeds on demand - some days more frequently than others. Even if I offer the breast more, he often refuses, so I just go with my instinct.

I do drink more fluids than I did before, but that is purely down to my thirst, not the other myth that you need to drink loads in order to breastfeed.

Keep going as you are. Whilst a low cal diet is not advised during breastfeeding, you can lose weight steadily and healthily - I found this book useful for diet advice. here

Amethyst8 Mon 03-Sep-07 21:53:41


Both my children were breast fed and went through the same old c**p with HV with both of them. There was even talk of referring my son to a Paediatrician for "investigation" as he was not gaining weight. I look back at photos of him at around that time and he was a right little fatty so don t know what they were seeing. As for quality of breast milk being improved by extra 1000 calories what utter twaddle. Your baby gets the best of everything you eat and the fact that you have cut out puddings etc is a GOOD thing. My DD used to get terrible wind and stomach ache if I ate any chocolate or sweet things and in the end I had to cut them out all together. As long as your baby is happy, alert and feeding when she wants to she will be fine. One good thing I have found though is that I eat a lot of fish and vegetables and my DD really loves those too so I think she must have got the taste from my milk.


Lulushmulu Tue 04-Sep-07 11:09:07

Thanks everyone. The NCT breastfeeding counsellor I spoke to today also said that eating more doesn't help. She also said that feeding both sides at each feed might help, having given a good feed from the first side before swapping over. I will try that.

She also suggested waking my baby up in the night to feed her,but I'm reluctant to go back to night feeds as she's only just started sleeping through and I've also got a 3 year old. I will try that as a last resort!

Lulushmulu Tue 04-Sep-07 11:10:38

Thanks everyone. The NCT breastfeeding counsellor I spoke to today also said that eating more doesn't help. She also said that feeding both sides at each feed might help, having given a good feed from the first side before swapping over. I will try that.

She also suggested waking my baby up in the night to feed her,but I'm reluctant to go back to night feeds as she's only just started sleeping through and I've also got a 3 year old. I will try that as a last resort!

Lulushmulu Tue 04-Sep-07 11:21:56

Thanks for the Kellymom link, it could be the mini-Pill that is causing low milk supply. The slowdown coincides roughly with when I started taking it after my 8 week checkup. Thanks again!

mears Tue 04-Sep-07 11:22:06

I was always a 2 breastfeeder myself! She should spontaneously let go of the first breast though. Wind her and offer her the second - she may or may not want it.

I would only go back to night feeds is there is a serious problem about weight gain. From what you have posted she seems a well 'small' baby. Nothing wrong with that. She has steadily gained weight.

manuka Tue 04-Sep-07 11:36:13

I think it would help if you eat more food containing GLUTAMINE. This is an essential amino acid responsible for building muscle and the lining of the intestines. This is found in red meat and eggs. Lamb is the easiest source of meat for us to digest. Glutamine is one of a number of amino acids that cannot be made by the liver, we have to eat it to get it. Also it is highly unlikely that your body will be stripped of it in milk production as it is a structural component and this would involve breaking down muscles which is the bodies last resort mechanism in times of prolonged starvation. The importance of glutamine has only recently been discovered after over ten years of clinical trials.
I really believe it would improve your situation to try eating food which contains this valuable nutrient.
Also it might be worth considering taking some digestive enzymes for a while to make sure your intestines are getting the nutrients in the first place even before the liver processes them.
Proteins are digested a lot easier if eaten without complex carbohydrates so maybe you could separate your food whilst you're bf.

tiktok Wed 05-Sep-07 13:22:14

manuka, sorry, but there is really no evidence that anything you suggest will lulu's breastfeeding.

There is no reason why Lulu would benefit from 'digestive enzymes' - still less her baby.

And glutamine - that helps breastfeeding, does it? [sceptical emoticon]

Expensive supplements, messing about separating proteins from other foods, and looking for foods with a particular ingredient......not necessary!! Breastfeeding is a normal, physiological process that needs no special treatment, and lulu and her baby are fine.

I assume you want to help, and I trust you are being sincere, but bf women have enough misleading and conflicting stuff to cope with, without you suggesting ways to make their lives even more complicated!!

Lulushmulu Wed 05-Sep-07 19:55:36

Thanks everyone. There are numerous supplements out there which cost money and might or might not help, but first of all I'm going to see if stopping the mini-pill, having snacks between meals and feeding from both sides have any effect first, and get her weighed again in 2 weeks.

mears Wed 05-Sep-07 22:30:07

Make sure you use another contraceptive then - breastfeeding is not enough smile

Elasticwoman Wed 05-Sep-07 22:46:18

Enjoy breastfeeding and waste less energy going to the clinic. That's my advice.

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